Just after 6pm last Thursday, the Gibraltar Port Authority (GPA) received a call at the VTS Centre from Algeciras VTS advising of a small craft drifting.
The call came from the ferry “Ciudad de Malaga” who reported seeing a small craft drifting in the area of the Gibraltar pilot boarding area one mile South West of Europa Point.
After an initial investigation by the Gibraltar Pilot boat, which was in the area at the time, it was confirmed that there was an overturned boat.
The GPA’s Search and Rescue protocols were immediately activated, with marine assets from the GPA, Royal Gibraltar Police (RGP), Gibraltar Defence Police (GDP) and HM Customs being deployed, as well as assistance from the shore–side MOD Windy Hill Station.
Service craft from two local port operators, the ‘AS Two’ and the ‘Mistress’, also assisted in the search and rescue operation. They were operating in the area at this time,
At 6.30pm the overturned boat was observed with a hole in her hull, with no persons on board. This led to a subsequent detailed search of the immediate area to see if any persons were in the water.
The area of the search and rescue was then widened to cover most of British Gibraltar Territorial Waters (BGTW) to look for any persons in the water.
After an extended search with loss of daylight as night time approached, and with no sightings of any persons in the water, the search and rescue operation was stood down.
Manuel Tirado, CEO and Captain of the Port (Acting) thanked all participants in the operation for their immediate response and assistance which once again demonstrated the excellent partnership between agencies and maritime stakeholders in Gibraltar